Drivers of bird beta diversity in the Western Ghats–Sri Lanka biodiversity hotspot are scale dependent: roles of land use, climate, and distance

Rachakonda Sreekar*, Lian Pin Koh, Christos Mammides, Richard T. Corlett, Salindra Dayananda, Uromi M. Goodale, Sarath W. Kotagama, Eben Goodale

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

8 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

In the last 50 years, intensive agriculture has replaced large tracts of rainforests. Such changes in land use are driving niche-based ecological processes that determine local community assembly. However, little is known about the relative importance of these anthropogenic niche-based processes, in comparison to climatic niche-based processes and spatial processes such as dispersal limitation. In this study, we use a variation partitioning approach to determine the relative importance of land-use change (ranked value of forest loss), climatic variation (temperature and precipitation), and distance between transects, on bird beta diversity at two different spatial scales within the Western Ghats–Sri Lanka biodiversity hotspot. Our results show that the drivers of local community assembly are scale dependent. At the larger spatial scale, distance was more important than climate and land use for bird species composition, suggesting that dispersal limitation over the Palk Strait, which separates the Western Ghats and Sri Lanka, is the main driver of local community assembly. At the smaller scale, climate was more important than land use, suggesting the importance of climatic niches. Therefore, to conserve all species in a biodiversity hotspot, it is important to consider geographic barriers and climatic variation along with land-use change.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)801-809
Number of pages9
JournalOecologia
Volume193
Issue number4
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 1 Aug 2020
Externally publishedYes

Keywords

  • Dispersal limitation
  • Local community assembly
  • Niche-based processes
  • Palk strait
  • Species turnover

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